Two men face a slew of charges from an armed robbery at a gambling centre in Hammonds Plains on Tuesday and a police pursuit that ended in Bedford.
Matthew Leslie Grimm, 26, of East Chezzetcook and Austin Mitton, 23, of no fixed address were arraigned in Halifax provincial court Wednesday.
Grimm faces 19 charges from the incident and Mitton 23 charges.
The most serious charge against the pair is robbery with a firearm. They’re also accused of wearing a mask in the commission of an offence, dangerous driving, fleeing from police in a motor vehicle, driving while prohibited and committing various firearm-related offences.
In addition, Grimm is charged with three counts of breaching probation, while Mitton faces one count of resisting arrest and five of breaching probation.
The robbery happened Tuesday at about 9:45 a.m. at Sipekne’katik Entertainment on Hammonds Plains Road. Two men wearing masks entered the gaming establishment, and one of them pointed a handgun at an employee and demanded money.
The employee turned over a sum of cash and the men fled in a vehicle that was spotted, in the words of RCMP, “driving recklessly on several streets.”
The car crashed into a heavily wooded median at Highway 102’s Exit 3B at Hammonds PlainsRoad. The driver was arrested at the crash scene while a passenger fled on foot, pursued by the Halifax Regional Police K-9 unit and armed officers.
Residents of the Bedford Hills area were advised to stay indoors while police searched for the man, who was arrested in a backyard of a home at about noontime.
Grimm chose to stay in a holding cell in the basement of the courthouse Wednesday while a lawyer spoke on his behalf. He will remain in custody until a bail hearing next week.
Mitton, who appeared in court in person, plans to apply for bail Friday.
Both men have long criminal records. Grimm has 21 previous convictions and Mitton 13.
In May 2010, Grimm was driving a car that went out of control on Cranberry Crescent in Dartmouth and crashed into a power pole, killing a 15-year-old passenger in the back seat, David Julien.
Grimm pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, failing to remain at the scene of an accident and breaching probation or release conditions. He was sentenced in October 2011 to 2.5 years in prison.
The court was told Grimm’s vehicle was going about 85 kilometres an hour when it crashed on a sharp turn on the winding residential street, where the speed limit is 50 km/h.
Grimm and a passenger in the front seat, Thomas Dixon, ran away after the crash. Julien was unresponsive when neighbours, including a nurse, tried to help him. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy revealed that he died from bluntforce injuries to his head and chest.
The 30-month sentence fell far short of the 50 months recommended by the Crown.
Judge Flora Buchan said she was required to focus on the circumstances of the offender, a young man with a Grade 9 education and a history of mental health and anger issues and alcohol abuse.
“This is not to lessen in any way the terrible loss the victim’s family and friends have suffered and will always suffer as a result of the actions of the defendant, but Mr. Grimm is suffering too,” the judge said. “I’m sure that if he could take back that dreadful day, he would.
“While he lacked courage on the night in question, he is now facing the court today prepared to take full responsibility for his actions. This tells me that he is not without backbone, and I believe his chances for rehabilitation are quite good.”
Grimm and Mitton also face a charge of aggravated assault after a man was badly beaten in a cell at the Halifax courthouse Wednesday.
Judge Gregory Lenehan ordered the pair to have no further contact with the gaming centre employee who was robbed and the beating victim.